In Australia, suicide rates have continued to rise over the last decade. The challenge to bend this curve is immense, especially in the context of COVID-19 and the recent bushfire season. These events have disrupted our lives and impacted the psychological health of almost every Australian in some way or another.
Those individuals with pre-existing mental health conditions, along with people facing greater socioeconomic vulnerability and uncertainty or other significant challenges are at particular risk for mental health issues at this time and into the future. Highlighting the need for urgent policy action.
The former Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry outlines in the PHAA Intouch Blog Post, immediate reforms are needed to the national mental health strategy. Professor McGorry is also calling for ‘a substantial but targeted mental health rescue package to be announced to underpin our nation’s COVID survival and recovery’ in next week’s federal budget. The need for evidence-based solutions to mental health has never been more important.
The white paper ‘What can be done to decrease suicidal behaviour in Australia?’ released in October 2020 from the Black Dog Institute aims to inform those involved in research, policy and service provision in ways to reduce the number of Australian lives lost to suicide. Taking a major step towards addressing this critical research gap.
First published on Intouch Public Health blog, by Jeremy Lasek, 28th September 2020